The Audacity of Dupe

If you thought the Republicans had learned anything from their debacle of 2012 you are currently being shown otherwise. In that year’s presidential primary, the Republican party fielded a surfeit of candidates, each more cartoonish than the last, and all striving to outdo the others in terms of idiocy. Three years ago–finally reconciled to the idea of living in the 21st Century–I watched in disbelief while, in a “debate,” a spate of candidates was in all seriousness each asked if they believed in evolution. This is beyond embarrassing.

And while the Republicans may yet side-step such nonsense, they once more are fielding an inordinately large number of candidates. I suppose this is in keeping with their self-described “big tent” appeal.

On the other side of the equation, of course, is Hillary Clinton, running virtually unopposed in the Democratic party. She will face challengers whose only tangible purpose will be to help plane and sand the planks of what will become the party’s platform. Apart from that, she appears to be home free. And why shouldn’t she be? She is, assuredly, the most experienced person in politics today. Hillary Clinton has been first lady both of Arkansas and the United States; she has been a United States Senator and, finally, a United States Secretary of State.

Forget the Benghazi imbroglio. Forget the email malarkey. Hillary Clinton has made only one mistake– and a truly gargantuan blunder it was, to be sure: her 2002 Senate vote to authorize military action in Iraq. This, memorably, dogged her in the 2008 primary. But at least now she owns it. In her 2014 book “Hard Choices” she writes, “I thought I had acted in good faith and made the best decision I could with the information I had. And I wasn’t alone in getting it wrong. But I still got it wrong. Plain and simple.”

She’s right about that. But former President George W. Bush is not when he asserts the same thing about the information he had. He had the truth, and then lied to Congress. That it was a war for corporate cronyism we can leave for later.

Ah, the Republicans and their tall tales! Climate change as unproven, for example–and certainly not man-made. The notion that a tax cut on the wealthy directly benefits those of lower classes because the rich are their employers. The idea that the entire republic is rife, if not epidemic with, voter fraud.

And what do Republicans do anywhere they secure an insurmountable majority? First, they attack the abortion and reproductive rights of every woman in their constituency. Next–because of the urgency in contending with the aforesaid voter fraud–they restrict early voting or provisional and write-in ballots or require that some new-fangled identification be produced before one enters the voting booth. These are all aimed at minorities, as is well known, and not because of racism–heavens!–but because most minorities tend to vote with the Democrats. The Republicans would have you believe, then–as they look down their ever extending noses–that such tactics are, politically speaking, strictly expedient. Aren’t they the party of the “big tent?”

Let’s think about that: The Republican Party shamelessly  targets women and minorities, so I suppose it could describe itself as “big tent”–provided that the huge tent  is reserved for a tiny group. A minority, ironically: the wealthy. The tent is a mansion, really, and the Republicans are lost–if not steeled–within it. Don’t ask me how any of them get elected. All I can think of is the Stockholm Syndrome.

Tulare County is a prime example of this. As one of a very blue state’s most impoverished counties, Tulare remains incandescently red. The Republican party and its tumor, the Tea Party, both do very well here. Curious, isn’t it?

But what’s curiouser and curiouser down this Republican rabbit hole–where the poor are conservative, and the rich actively strive to purge many poor from the voter rolls (Up in the naked light of day this would just be called Jim Crow)–is that while the Republicans seek to shrink the electorate, they see fit to foist upon it far too many presidential candidates. They’d love nothing more than a streamlined government pandering to a winnowed constituency.

This sense of entitlement is astonishing. It’s the Audacity of Dupe. Could someone please explain to me why the GOP seems always free to reduce itself to chicanery as opposed to winning any argument on its merits? And just what character flaw is it that makes many of these blowhard candidates think they’re any good at their current jobs, to say nothing of how they’d perform as President? Each of the 20 or more carries baggage that to my reckoning makes them ultimately unelectable.

You might detest Hillary Clinton. Many do. But at least her faux pas remains popular on the right–voting in favor of the war.

Or are the Republicans going to disavow the war now? Oh, how I miss the honest Republicans of my youth–Richard Nixon, for instance.

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